Kerry on Argentina's Economic About Face

Last year, Argentina elected a new President, Mauricio Macri, who quickly took a number of steps to help revitalize the country's limping economy. These include ending currency controls which discouraged foreign investment, beginning to remove import restrictions, and reducing export taxes, particularly agricultural tariffs that hinder Argentinian farmers' ability to compete on the international market.

“Argentina has a terrific new leadership team. There is an economic reform agenda on the table that is aimed at boosting trade and investment, eliminating poverty, creating jobs, easing regulatory burdens, and reintegrating Argentina into the world economy,” said Secretary of State John Kerry to the American Chamber of Commerce in Buenos Aires.

Nonetheless, the economy is still sluggish and likely to contract before it picks up steam. But Argentina can help its economy grow by prioritizing four key elements.

The first is education. Schools should be aware of, and teach, skills that the marketplace demands. Thus private sector involvement in the education process is increasingly important. It is the reason the U.S. started the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. Co-funded by the private sector, it allows students the opportunity to gain the experience and instruction they need through study abroad.

Second, Argentina must invest in policies encouraging trade and integration into the global economy, already a part of the country's new economic plan. Facilitating this goal is a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, signed by the United States and Argentina in March, which deals with issues such as market access, intellectual property and workers' rights.

Third, facilitating the growth of the small business sector should be a top priority. That is why the U.S. and Argentina are cooperating to establish an Argentinian network of small business development centers.

Finally, Argentina should invest in clean energy, not only because it is the right and efficient thing to do, but also because this quickly-growing business sector offers great economic opportunities.

“I believe the friendship between the United States and Argentina is going to grow and grow for generations to come,” said Secretary of State Kerry. “You're on the right track, and the future of this country and of this region could not be brighter.”